Make no mistake! I’m all for everyone on this planet dropping excess body weight and getting fit and healthy. As someone who used to weigh over 450 pounds, I know what it’s like to struggle to take even the next step (much less try not to sound out of breath even when just talking on the phone). But I also know that hating or shaming ourselves is no method for making permanent, positive change (no matter what you weigh). And that means loving yourself in the present moment (all of yourself).
Because of this, I love it when we can catch glimpses of body positive actors in favorite TV shows. This doesn’t happen nearly enough. After all, just as we all come in different nationalities, we also come in different sizes. And for anyone struggling with weight issues and self-esteem issues (they usually happen hand-in-hand), seeing actors being sexy at any size on TV (or at the movies) can be very freeing (and even healing).
Recently, I’ve been loving actor Alyssa Diaz who appears as a wrestler-dominatrix and this current season’s love interest for Bunchy on Showtime’s Ray Donovan. Ms. Diaz not only owns her body size, but also exhibits a very confidant sexual prowess. And no, I’m not saying Ms. Diaz is heavy. But she does show off the kind of fabulous body that we don’t often see on the boob tube (so to speak). It’s sad that this kind of exhibit of the body beautiful doesn’t occur enough on primetime TV. So when it happens, I want to call attention to it with thunderous applause. So kudos to Ms. Diaz, to Ray Donovan, to Showtime and to all the viewers who support shows that demonstrate true diversity by continually tuning in.
Fact is, the more we accept and respect others (no matter who they are or what they look like), the more likely we’ll extend that kind of acceptance (and even kindness) to ourselves. And when we change this mindset about ourselves, we’re more likely to to initiate healthy, positive change (whether that means losing weight, quitting smoking, changing careers — whatever).
It’s true! You can do anything. But you’re likely to find you’ll do it a lot easier (and happier) by loving yourself as you are in this present moment. And guess what? You deserve the love (all of it)!
Ray Donovan Still Shot Photo Source: The Girl That Loved To Review
Did you know that September is Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month? Don’t worry if you didn’t. I didn’t know this either. But turns out it’s a great time to raise our awareness about heart health whether or not we know someone directly affected by heart disease. After all, Atrial Fibrillation is responsible for 1 in 4 deaths every year. And, as usual, prevention is the best remedy for heart health.
Want more information? Check out this helpful infographic below. Then join me in making healthy-minded decisions (such as deciding to eat less fried food and take more walks) that will benefit our hearts (and all of our body parts).
Help spread the word by using this hashtag throughout this month and even during future months: #RhythmicResolutions. The heart you save may be your own! (P.S. Sending a special shout out and thank you to Judy C. who wrote to me about this important issue!)
Infographic Source: Atrial fibrillation infographics on Pinterest
Fun fact: When I weighed over 450 pounds, I was drinking 6-12 cans of diet soda a day. Today, I weigh around 175 pounds (and have for well over a decade) and I don’t drink any soda — ever. Still think soda can’t harm you? Check out these statistics on soft drinks and disease from the Harvard School of Public Health (click here), which includes findings such as “People who consume sugary drinks regularly—1 to 2 cans a day or more—have a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely have such drinks.” Giving up soda and replacing it with water is one simple thing you can do to have a lasting effect on your physical (and even mental) wellness — even without drastically changing your eating or exercise habits. What are you waiting for?
When it comes to eating “cleaner” and “fresher” foods, it’s no secret — doing so usually means re-training your taste buds. There are so many additives, food substitutes and chemicals in over-processed junk food that often when we start a healthier eating regime, so-called ‘healthy’ foods taste like cardboard.
In my first book, I write about giving taste buds a couple days (or more) to adjust to the new way of eating – while assuring readers that eventually the healthier food will taste better. And yes, this means the unhealthier foods will begin to taste worse. In fact, I can tell when food is overly processed with too many additives, too much salt or (heaven forbid) has trans fats as an ingredient. It’s not a matter of not eating this junk to avoid going back to weighing over 450 pounds – I simply hate the way these foods taste and hate how I would feel (lethargic, nauseas, physically ill) if I still consumed them.
Thankfully, nature has some goodies of its own that can rival even the sweetest cakes or frozen treats. And one of these bounties is good ol’ watermelon. When fresh, crisp and sweet, I find it as enjoyable as a bowl of ice cream. And yes, I still enjoy naturally made ice cream or frozen yogurt from time to time. But I balance those treats out with fresh fruit. And during this time of year (just before the winter months hit), I do my best to enjoy watermelon for all it’s worth.
Studies have revealed that besides being delicious, watermelon delivers several health benefits, including being an excellent source of Vitamin C as well as a good source of Vitamins A and B6. It also contains the carotenoid antioxidant lycopene, which can help neutralize free radicals and help prevent prostate cancer. Watermelon has been shown to reduce the risk of other types of cancers as well. Plus, its high water content makes it great for hydration. What’s more, it’s a terrific dessert or snack for kids and can help them understand that not every ‘treat’ has to come covered in fudge.
When selecting watermelon, I always go for seedless. I’m not a happy camper if I must interrupt my chewing with spitting seeds into a nearby napkin (even though I suppose it burns a few more calories).
According to produce specialists, Mid-June through mid-August is when watermelon is at its ripest (with July being the most prized month of all). Good watermelon can still be found even now. But its time is growing nigh. Even if imported from warmer climates during the winter, it’s likely not as delicious as the fruit the summertime month’s offer. So let’s go watermelon shopping, shall we?
When picking a whole watermelon, size matters since 80% of a watermelon is water. Pick one of the largest you can find, while making sure the exterior doesn’t have any visible cuts, bruising, dents or soft spots. Experts also suggest looking for a yellowish area on the melon’s exterior, which indicates its ripeness after sitting in the sun.
Next, do what you’ve likely seen other shoppers do – knock-knock on the exterior with your knuckle. You’re listening for a slight echo to your knock, which indicates that the fruit is ripe. A dull thud could indicate otherwise.
When preparing watermelon for guests, or myself, I make sure to make the eating experience as relaxed and “special” as possible – therefore I don’t usually serve it in wedges. Giving food a more delectable presentation is something I strive for almost every time I eat. This helps my brain, eyes and other senses know that I’m eating, which helps ‘up’ the enjoyment factor – and, therefore, the satisfaction and fullness factors.
I suggest slicing watermelon into quarters, length wise, then taking a quarter and carefully running a knife along the red center’s outer edge and the whiteness of the rind. Cut all the way around on both sides, so that the whole quarter of the red stuff could slip out. But don’t slip it out just yet. Next, cut the fruit from side to side, on both exposed sides of the quarter. Finally, cut across your long slices, from left to right, leaving about 1/2 to 2/3 of an inch between each slice.
Next, slide your perfectly prepared chunks into serving bowls. But before you serve the fruit, put the bowls into the freezer for 5-10 minutes to give the fruit an extra kick of crispiness.
When time to serve, pull the bowls from the freezer and serve with a napkin underneath (to keep the bowl from being too chilly to the touch). The watermelon chunks should have a minimal layer of frost that kicks up the flavor and the crunchy quotient, making for a texture-y, sweet and delicious eating experience. (Careful not to keep the chunks in the freezer too long or the pieces will freeze and require a little defrosting before being comfortably edible).
Saving the uneaten portion of the watermelon can be handled two ways – either by “chunking up” the remaining portion and putting it into airtight containers and storing in the fridge; or wrapping up the other half or quarters (rind and all) in cellophane wrap and then wrapping them in an additional plastic bag before putting into the fridge (to avoid having to clean up leaked watermelon juice at a later time). Plan on consuming the leftover fruit sooner rather than later to enjoy it at its freshest.
Watermelon. It’s not just for summer picnics anymore.